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Jeep
10-26-2004, 11:46 AM
Hey all.. I have a serious question to pose to all the parents out there.. and wannabe parents too..

My 12 yo son is physically handicapped.. He was born almost 12 weeks premature, weighed in at 2lbs 9oz and has a mild form of Cerebral Palsy. In addition, he has a birth defect of one extra vertebrae in his neck on the right side which causes his head to lean to the left, also because of the extra bone, he can not touch his right ear to his right shoulder, the neck just will not allow it..

The CP is minor and he has worked hard to over come all his problems and is leading a very normal life with the exception that he is emotionally, physically and intellectually about 2 years behind... He has been retained 1 year and so he is 12 years old, attending the 6th grade at a middle school (a.k.a. Jr High) and now wants to wrestle on the wrestling team.

In the past, we have consulted with his family Doctors about his desire to play football and wrestling and each of the Docs pretty much said they are against any type of physical contact that could break his neck.. All the grown ups in his life are opposed to him wrestling, myself, his mother, g’ma, g’pa, aunt uncles etc... We all realize the risk of hurting his neck and the possibility of being paralyzed or even worse..

We all want to support him to play sports and encourage him to grow up as normal as possible. In the past, he has played little league, soccer and basketball and we have tried to get him involved with track/field and even boxing for the local PAL league, when he showed a minor interest.

But now comes my dilemma... Over the last few weeks he has practiced with the wrestling team at school, his wrestling coach wants him on the team and has tried to convince him that wrestling is no more dangerous than participating in PE at school. After a few long conversations with my son, pointing out the consequences, the long term risks vs the short term benefits, my son is totally oblivious and down right refuses to believe anything bad is going to happen to him.

This evening, after school I have to sign the permission slip to allow him to wrestle and I really don’t feel good about doing so.. On one side, I don’t want to be the bad guy and very much want to support my son and encourage him to grow up happy and healthy but at the same time, every part of my body is telling me no.. don’t sign the permission form out of the fear of injury..

I would like to get your opinion, maybe some other parent has been thru this situation before or maybe someone can show me a point of view I can not see... The one thing that keeps playing in my mind is what would Nick Buoniconti have said about his son playing football, had he known what was going to happen..

Rebar71
10-26-2004, 12:16 PM
Have you seen Finding Nemo?

Let the kid live.

You've let him play all those other sports - even try BOXING. Anything can happen in any sport. He could've been hit in the face by a hard line-drive in baseball. He could've taken an elbow in basketball. He could bump heads with somebody in soccer. I don't know what a PAL league is, but I'm not even going to touch boxing.

Let the kid live. If he wants to wrestle, let him. He just might be good. And it could do wonders for his self-esteem - and yours.

My kids don't have any disabilities. But - from the outside looking in - if they did, and still had the capacity and desire to compete in athletics, I don't think I could in good conscience hold them back.

Another question to ask yourself - would you be holding him back for his own good - or yours?

That's how I feel - and what I think I would do given your situation.

Jimmy James
10-26-2004, 12:25 PM
I would have to follow the medical advice given to you and be the bad guy here if I were in your shoes. This is a really tough situation to be in, though. As I understand it right, the doctor is saying that your child does not have a normal risk of injury -- he has a heightened risk. In addition, your child will be in a position where he will be subjecting his head to being twisted about by members of an opposing team who do not know about his condition. They don't know that his right ear doesn't ever touch his right shoulder like their ear does to their shoulder, and I could see them mistaking that for your son struggling against them when he is not.

I'll disclose that I am not currently a parent, btw.

In the end, I think this seems like a situation where you have to ask yourself whether or not you're willing to allow your 10 year old (intellectually) child to make a choice that goes against medical advice. I'm not going to suggest there is an absolute right answer, but I think that is the question you have to pose in the time you have left to think about it.

1972
10-26-2004, 12:31 PM
I remember a friend of mine in high school broke his neck in a wrestling match, They thought he was going to be paralyzed, but he did recover. IMO, wresting is one of the most dangerous sports out there. At least you have pads in football.

If it were me, I'd put my foot down on this one. I bet Christopher Reeves wishes he would never have gone jumping on horseback that day. Hindsight is 20/20, and you have medical advice that is helping you see the future.

I wouldn't let my son do it in your situation. And maybe that's selfish, just because I wouldn't want to see him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life over a wrestling match.

Good luck with your decision.

ltfinfan
10-26-2004, 12:32 PM
i wrestled for four years of high school and saw many injuries but never one that involved anyones neck. you risk injuries when you wake up every morning, i know how hard it is to let your kids do stuff, i have three of my own and I have to stop myself from being to over protective. i know this isn't the same but one of my sons was born with only one testicale. the doctor told us that he shouldn't play any contact sports or baseball, but he really wants to play. so we just take the best precautions we can and we let him play, but ultimatly its your decision and i am sure you will make the very best choice.

may god bless your family and your decision.

Scrap
10-26-2004, 01:59 PM
I would explain to your son that there will be more chances to wrestle than just this year. I would currently take the doctor's advice, yet hound the hell out of him/her to learn more about the risk of injury.Have you asked a specialist, or a general practitioner? Maybe you could also get him started on an exercise routine for now. That way he'll be more prepared when he does get the chance.

I would post this question at this website's forum:
www.fit-pro.com
I go there on occasion. Lots of the posters there are personal trainers, physical therapists, doctors, or nurses. Maybe they can help guide you towards a decision.
You don't have to register to post on their site either.

Good luck,
Michael B

Oh, also, I wouldn't listen to the wrestling coach.

inFINSible
10-26-2004, 02:43 PM
I agree with JJ....if there is a heightened risk of injury then you should be the parent and make the mature and enlightned decision that will benefit you and your child the most.

It sounds like you are letting him do almost anything he wants except for the two things that are most dangerous for him. I find that quite accomodating on your part, considering that no sport is totally safe.

I think he could learn a lesson in compromising here.

iceblizzard69
10-26-2004, 04:03 PM
I know that if I was in his position, I would be extremely upset, angry, and disapointed if I wasn't allowed to do what I wanted. It's a double edged sword. If you don't let him wrestle he will be really disapointed and really angry at you. If you do let him, there is a high chance that he gets hurt.

Mindwarp
10-26-2004, 09:07 PM
Jeep..

I am both a parent and a highschool wrestler/football player

Whatw ould I have done? Exactly what you did.. let him do it.. HOWEVER.. I would make him research and learn about his disabilty. I can no longer squat(with weights) nor play high level contact football (college or higher) due to an injury. THe injury came in a football game not wrestling. the most harm I got in wrestling was a kick to the cup by accident. In football i had a DT go helmet first into my knee and now my knee goes out on me all the times.

Will I let me kids play knowing what happen to me... YES
Would I do it all over knowing what will happen.......YES
the experiance I gained wrestling and playing football are so great that it tought me a lot more in life. About Teamwork about discipline, about determination to finish something.

I think you letting him do what he wants to do is a good thing. Good for his self esteem. However he should know about his condition and limitations as well.







Infins:
My Condolences go out to you on your loss

TerryTate
10-27-2004, 02:04 AM
You guys know that I am young, but if I were in your shoes...I'd vote NO

I'd go with the advice of a specialist on this one. IF he says NO, you cant let the kid play. You could never live with yourself if an opponent in a wrestling match takes him down on his neck, you just couldnt. it's not worth the risk. There are plenty of other things he can do.

He's 12 years old, and he hasnt been wrestling for years now...my understanding is that it would be his first attempt at doing it, so it will be easier for him to get over it when you tell him NO. If he got the news that he couldnt wrestle after doing it for years, then it wouldve been a different story.

He'll grow out of it. He's on the verge of adolescence, he'll mature and realize that it was the right decision. And if he questions your decision to say NO, tell him that the doctor told him NO. There is no possible way a kid can argue against a doctor's order.

that's my opinion....if you seek another doctor's opinion and he is cleared, let him wrestle away

Bobby Humphrey
10-27-2004, 02:23 AM
Jeep, ask the doctor, “Compared to an average 12 year old, what percent strength is my son’s neck at?” If the doctor answers 80% or stronger let him do it. If the doctor says 79% or less, don’t let him do it.

This takes the pressure off you, and you are no longer the “bad guy” if it is a no. I am not one for shifting blame, but this is a serious situation.

I hope he can play.

Good luck.

1972
10-27-2004, 11:25 AM
Hey Jeep. What did you end up doing?

Jeep
10-27-2004, 11:56 AM
Thanks guys.. thanks for all your help, opinions and concerns.. I got exactly what I asked for, you guys gave me many different points of views and opened my eyes to the ways other people think.

Living here on the west coast, my son has been seen by many different Doctors, the most notable is a Doctor at Stanford Hospital who has been claimed as one of the best spinal cord injury Docs in the county. We have went thru many tests and x-rays and MRI's trying to figure out the extent of the neck anomaly.

The bottom line is my son's neck is weak and no one is willing to go on record and say your son's neck is 60% or 70% weaker than a normal kid, because there is no way to formulate a number or conclude how weak it might be. The neck is as weak as it is...

Last night after I got home from work, I found out I was fibbed to... Last night was the first wrestling match and believe it or not.. without any official approval from me or his mom, either verbal or written, I found out the coach allowed my son to wrestle against another school and to make matters worse, my son won his match and now he is so jazzed the kid was bouncing off the walls with excitement.. lol

So the decision I made about him wrestling was more of a compromise... since my son wrestles in the 70lbs and lighter, I figured the risk of injury at this point is at its minimum, so we agreed that he could wrestle as long as there is no pain or discomfort in his neck. I made him realize and agree to that if he gets put in a hold that causes the least little bit of pain or discomfort then that is God's way or warning him that this is the wrong sport...

He agreed to stopping the wrestling match right then and there, walk off the mat and never to look back.. Hopefully my son will see the potential for danger and should he ever feel pain, I'm hoping... errr ummm praying he will act responsibly...

Thanks again for your help guys..

Jeep

Jimmy James
10-27-2004, 12:06 PM
Thank you for letting us know, Jeep. I hope the compromise works very well and that your son enjoys years in the sport without any trouble.

ltfinfan
10-27-2004, 01:51 PM
thanks Jeep, i hope it all works out

Scrap
10-27-2004, 02:40 PM
Thanks guys.. thanks for all your help, opinions and concerns.. I got exactly what I asked for, you guys gave me many different points of views and opened my eyes to the ways other people think.

Living here on the west coast, my son has been seen by many different Doctors, the most notable is a Doctor at Stanford Hospital who has been claimed as one of the best spinal cord injury Docs in the county. We have went thru many tests and x-rays and MRI's trying to figure out the extent of the neck anomaly.

The bottom line is my son's neck is weak and no one is willing to go on record and say your son's neck is 60% or 70% weaker than a normal kid, because there is no way to formulate a number or conclude how weak it might be. The neck is as weak as it is...

Last night after I got home from work, I found out I was fibbed to... Last night was the first wrestling match and believe it or not.. without any official approval from me or his mom, either verbal or written, I found out the coach allowed my son to wrestle against another school and to make matters worse, my son won his match and now he is so jazzed the kid was bouncing off the walls with excitement.. lol

So the decision I made about him wrestling was more of a compromise... since my son wrestles in the 70lbs and lighter, I figured the risk of injury at this point is at its minimum, so we agreed that he could wrestle as long as there is no pain or discomfort in his neck. I made him realize and agree to that if he gets put in a hold that causes the least little bit of pain or discomfort then that is God's way or warning him that this is the wrong sport...

He agreed to stopping the wrestling match right then and there, walk off the mat and never to look back.. Hopefully my son will see the potential for danger and should he ever feel pain, I'm hoping... errr ummm praying he will act responsibly...

Thanks again for your help guys..

Jeep I hope it works out okay for you and your son, Jeep. I think I would contemplate kicking the coaches a$$ though. He risked your sons health. He had no right to allow your son to wrestle for the team. If this is the type of responsible person that this coach wants to represent himself as, I'd be leary to trust any decisions he would make reguarding your son in the future.

Mindwarp
10-27-2004, 03:38 PM
typical wrestling coach..

I remember my first win.. it was my first match.. i was so psyched.. i was unstopable..

got my but wooped my next match.. lol

1972
10-27-2004, 05:26 PM
I hope it works out okay for you and your son, Jeep. I think I would contemplate kicking the coaches a$$ though. He risked your sons health. He had no right to allow your son to wrestle for the team. If this is the type of responsible person that this coach wants to represent himself as, I'd be leary to trust any decisions he would make reguarding your son in the future.

I'm going to have to agree whole-heartedly with Mr. Scrap.

Coach's as$ needs to have a little chat with Jeep's foot.

I sincerely hope everything works out fine.

Scrap
10-27-2004, 05:45 PM
typical wrestling coach..

I remember my first win.. it was my first match.. i was so psyched.. i was unstopable..

got my but wooped my next match.. lol
I was a 2nd stringer to a pretty good wrestler, on a great team. I got to wrestle in a tournament once. It was double elimination. I lost my only 2 matches to the guys who ended up placing first and second.....and barely lost both matches. Aint that a Beotch?

Peebs
10-30-2004, 10:56 PM
Wow! I can't believe the coach did that by not only putting your son's welfare in jeopardy but the school as well. What if god forbid something happened to your son?
I'm glad it worked out OK but that's really messed up.